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The Web As A Tool

Submitted on

A quote from an article sent to me this morning really got me to rethink an assumption I've had for years. The quote:

"If you suck at meetings in person, you're only going to 'virtually suck' online."

Here's a hypothetical for you:

Would you set up a job without the right tooling, material, workholding or CNC program for that job? Just plug that sucker in, and expect to get what you need by magic?

Here's another one:

Would you feed a line to produce apparel without a design?

The obvious answers to both are no - likely with some colorful language added for emphasis.

The Web - and MFG.com - are merely tools to add to your work bench.

The Web - and MFG.com - are merely tools to add to your work bench.

Well, here's a newsflash: the Web - and MFG.com - are tools. No different than a machining center, a plasma arc cutter, a waterjet, or any machinery you use to manufacture. It's success comes from what you put into it, how you apply it and how you program it.

So why do many of us approach our Web sites, social media channels, or marketplaces like MFG.com with a "just plug that sucker in" strategy and think that we'll get anything of any value from them?

We've pointed out before that Google never answered a question - search results are only as good as what has been created about the topic we're researching.

My point is this - I've worked with small- and medium-sized manufacturers for years, and always thought that their lack of marketing appreciation was almost genetic. That you just aren't wired for it, the same way a really good marketer doesn't know a Fanuc from a tombstone.

But maybe it's a value thing instead. Maybe it's that the intense intelligence and intellectual curiosity that manufacturers naturally bring to the party just hasn't been properly channeled to the Web. As a tool in search of a purpose.

My question is - assuming you don't "get" these online tools, what would it take for your impressions and opinions about the Web to change? Is it a matter of value? Of return on investment? I know you may not understand the medium, or question how it's being used by other manufacturers or your customers and prospects. But their was a time that you were an apprentice, or just starting out, right?

It seems to me that I might have been wrong about this - if you think of these online channels as tools, who's better equipped to apply them successfully than you?

No one, that I know of.

Can you make this part?

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